The new Google Ads interface: the good, the bad and the ugly

Move over AdWords… we review Google’s new paid search interface, Google Ads.

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Just over a year ago, a short time before I went on maternity leave, I wrote about Google beta testing its new, what was then, Google AdWords interface ( A little over 12 months later and the old interface has been made completely redundant and it is now compulsory for advertisers and their agencies to use the new, what is now known as, Google Ads interface.

I remember back then trying to get the hang of the new look and trying to get used to where features had moved to. I’m just glad I had used it a bit, otherwise I could have been in for a big shock coming back to a completely new, and newly named, Google Ads interface. That being said it doesn’t mean that I like the new one, and here are my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly features/traits of the new interface.

The Good

One thing I do like is the new Overview page, especially the word clouds as they show a snapshot of new words that are appearing within search queries that are triggering your ads. This can be an obvious place to look for additional negative terms and new positive terms to add to your campaigns to try and improve performance.

Google Ads review overview

Also the Recommendations section, this simply summarises Google’s recommendations on how it thinks you could improve your campaigns, things like adding new keywords, changing bids or budgets, non-serving keywords that could be removed or ad groups that don’t have any ads in, to list just a few. That’s not to say that Google’s recommendations are always good, or should always be implemented though, as a lot could waste money. The way it’s laid out is nice though, it’s easy to work through each recommendation and easily dismiss the ones that you do not wish to implement.

Another good thing about the new interface are the keyboard shortcuts. By pressing a couple of buttons on your keyboard you can easily and quickly get to various sections of Google Ads to make edits or check stats within your campaigns:

Google Ads review: shortcuts

The Bad

I find myself constantly hunting for different features that were so easy to locate before, as they are not anywhere near where they used to be in the old AdWords. For example where’s the shared library gone or where do you go to check that auto-tagging is enabled? I’m just glad they’ve got the “Go To” search function, otherwise I’d be completely lost.

Similarly, I find that the new keyword tool, known as Keyword Planner, is more difficult to use and seems to be missing some really useful features from the old tool. For example, the way that you create a plan has completely changed and where has the “only show ideas closely related to my search terms” option gone? You can no longer just click the add to plan button and the keyword disappears into your chosen ad group. Instead you have to check the box and manually move them and if you want to move keywords from one ad group to another within the plan, you have to go back to Keyword ideas and do it there – it’s just clunky.

The Ugly

One really ugly and extremely annoying thing I am finding with the new platform is navigating about from account to account within our MCC. I never seem to be able to use the back button correctly, and rarely go back to where I want to go. Similarly, when I go from account to account I find that the columns have gone AWOL or there’s a filter still on that I’d used before and I keep having to change them. This may well be user error on my part, but it’s very frustrating and needs some getting used to.

Also in the previous AdWords if you were running an experiment for a client you could simply go to the experiments section and easily see how it was performing against the control. This isn’t the case in the new one, instead it looks like this:

Google Ads review -experiment data

Surely there has to be a simpler way of displaying the data than this?

As with anything new, it is going to take some getting used to and in another year’s time we probably won’t even remember that Google Ads used to be called AdWords, let alone the features of the old interface.

What do you love and hate about the new interface? Have your say below…

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